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  • The U.S.'s Central Intelligence agency - the CIA  - and Israel's Mossad are 2 of the world's most  

  • famous and most elite spy agencies with a long  history of working together as allies - and,  

  • at times, of spying on each otherMossad versus CIA - how do they compare?

  • Israel and the U.S. have long professed to  be allies and close friends, and politicians  

  • in both countries have been bragging for  decades about thespecial relationship”  

  • between the 2 nations. While this may be trueand while there have been many instances of the  

  • countries and their spy agencies working together  to achieve mutual goals, the U.S. and Israel also  

  • regard each other with deep suspicion, and both  countries have found themselves on the receiving  

  • end of each other's espionage efforts. In factsome experts suggest that Israel launches more  

  • aggressive espionage efforts on the U.S. than  almost any other nation on earth! According to a  

  • classified NSA document that was made public  in 2014: “The Israelis are extraordinarily  

  • good partners for us, but they target us to  learn our positions on Middle East problems.”  

  • In one of the most famous cases, U.S. Navy  analyst Jonathan Pollard was sentenced to  

  • life in prison in 1987 after he was caught  stealing U.S. secrets and selling them to Israel.

  • Given the clandestine nature of  these organizations, it's hard to  

  • get any straight answers about what exactly  they do or how exactly the CIA and Mossad  

  • accomplish their clandestine missionsBut, thanks to declassified documents,  

  • the revealing memoirs of former spies, and  some brave whistleblowers, we can start  

  • to piece together a history and profile of  the CIA and Mossad to see how they compare.

  • The U.S.'s Central Intelligence Agency was  formed in 1947 by President Harry S. Truman,  

  • largely in response to growing tensions with  the former USSR after World War 2. Reporting  

  • to the Director of National Intelligence, a  cabinet-level official, the CIA's official role is  

  • to provide foreign intelligence information to the  President of the United States and the Cabinet.  

  • Today, the CIA employs more than 21,000 peoplethough only a fraction of them work as spies.

  • Although there have been female spies in the CIA  since the very beginning, the agency also has a  

  • long history of sexism, and many former employees  have noted that a glass ceiling has long prevented  

  • women from rising to higher positions in the  CIA. In 1992, only 10% of non-support roles  

  • were held by women, versus 40% in the general  workforce. The CIA has made strides forwards in  

  • recent years - in 2018, Gina Haspel was sworn  in as the first female director of the CIA.

  • Mossad was formed in December 1949 to act  as a central body that would coordinate  

  • between Israel's existing intelligence  agencies, like the army's intelligence arm,  

  • the internal security service Shin Bet, and the  foreign office. In 1951, Mossad was reorganized  

  • and made a part of the prime minister's officereporting directly to the prime minister. From  

  • their headquarters in Tel Aviv, Mossad focuses on  foreign intelligence - according to their website,  

  • their role is tocollect informationanalyse intelligence and perform special  

  • covert operations beyond Israel's borders.” The Mossad's ethos is summed up in their motto,  

  • taken from the bible: “By way of  deception thou shalt make war.”

  • To help them in their mission, Mossad employees  nearly 7,000 people - but only about 50 of them  

  • are covert operatives, called Katsa. Many Katsa  are women, and the agency has a pretty progressive  

  • attitude toward their female operativesMossad Chief Tamir Pardo has said: “Contrary  

  • to stereotypes, you see that women's abilities  are superior to men in terms of understanding  

  • the territory, reading situations, spatial  awareness. When they're good, they're very good.”  

  • When it comes to achieving their objectivesflirting is fair game for female spies, but there  

  • are hard lines that they will not cross - and  that their superiors will not ask them to cross.  

  • A former female Israeli spy told reporters that “a  man who wants to gain access to a forbidden area  

  • has less chance of being allowed in… A  smiling woman has a bigger chance of success”,  

  • but was adamant that sex  is never used as a weapon.

  • CIA spy training takes place at their headquarters  in Langley, Virginia. To be accepted into CIA spy  

  • training, at minimum a prospect must be  over 18, have a background in science,  

  • engineering or business, and be drug-free for  at least a year. Knowing a second language is  

  • considered an asset, as well. CIA training focuses  on handling mental stress - recruits learn through  

  • gruelling experience how to function and focus  through sleep deprivation, fatigue, discomfort  

  • and in the face of extreme danger. Recruits  also receive training in firearms handling and  

  • hand-to-hand combat, but the hallmark of CIA  training is the year-long clandestine series  

  • training. According to former CIA spy Amaryllis  Fox, traineesrun around DC...high on the fact  

  • that the civilians around them are oblivious  to what's happening right in front of them.”

  • AtThe Farm” - the nickname for their  secret training facility - new recruits  

  • will learn the hands-on skills they need to besuccessful spy. They are trained in elicitation,  

  • or bumps, the subtle art of extracting  information and getting a mark talking.  

  • They learn to perform dead drops and brush passes  to subtly hand off information or materials.  

  • They become skilled at detecting and  eluding surveillance. During training,  

  • their marks are other seasoned spies. Some  of them see it as their duty to share their  

  • hard-earned wisdom with the next generation  of spies, some are just looking for an easy  

  • assignment close to home, and still others  are being punished for screw ups in the field.

  • Requirements for joining Mossad appear to be less  stringent than the CIA's - according to their  

  • website, “all are welcome, regardless of religionnationality or occupation.” Training takes place  

  • at the Midrasha near the town of Herzliya, where  prospective recruits are subjected to a battery of  

  • psychological and aptitude tests before starting  their 3 year training program. During training,  

  • new spies are instructed in the arts of espionageincluding how to cultivate agents and avoid  

  • surveillance. They also receive extensive  training in different methods of killing.

  • How do the CIA and Mossad compare? Both  organizations have similar structures and  

  • mandates, and their recruits undergo similar  training. Perhaps the best way to see how the 2  

  • agencies stack up against each other is to look at  them in action. Though their work is, by nature,  

  • secret, over time details have leaked out about  both agencies' successes - and their failures.

  • The CIA's official focus is on gathering inteland Operation Rubicon was one of the largest,  

  • longest and most successful  operations in CIA history.

  • It started out as an unofficialgentleman's  agreementbetween 2 friends, NSA cryptographer  

  • William Friedman and Boris Hagelin, owner of  the Swiss firm Crypto AG. Crypto AG was one  

  • of the world's most reputable manufacturers of  coding machines, and it counted the governments  

  • and militaries of over 60 countries among its  clients. The 2 friends, Friedman and Hagelin,  

  • agreed that Crypto AG's machines should only  be sold tofriendlycountries, and throughout  

  • the 1950s almost all of Crypto AG's machines  were sold asreadableto the United States.

  • The relationship between Friendman and Hagelin  grew strained over the years, and by the late  

  • 60s the CIA realized that they needed to find  a way to retain their access to the valuable  

  • information that Crypto AG provided. CIA agentswith help from West German intelligence officials,  

  • orchestrated a daring and complex operation  to purchase the Swiss company in June 1970.  

  • The purchase was done in secret through  intermediaries to deceive Swiss officials,  

  • and not even Crypto AG's employees knew the  real identity of the company's new owners.  

  • Once the CIA controlled the company, they  continued to sell less secure machines to  

  • enemy countries - and probably to their alliestoo - and enjoyed decades of unfiltered access  

  • to intelligence data from all over the world  during the height of the Cold War. Data collected  

  • through Crypto AG machines was instrumental in  countless Cold War events, including the Suez  

  • Canal crisis in 1956, the 1978 Camp David Peace  Accords, and the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1979.

  • Like the CIA, Mossad's focus is on  counter-terrorism and intel gathering.  

  • In recent years, Mossad has also  branched out into venture capitalism,  

  • investing in tech startups in an effort to  stay on the cutting edge of cyber technologies.  

  • Mossad also aren't shy about the fact that covert  

  • operations - including assassinations  - are a major part of their mandate.

  • One of Mossad's most high profile successes was  the abduction of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann,  

  • a daring escapade that seems like a plot  straight out of a Hollywood spy movie.  

  • Eichmann was one of the architects of the  Holocaust, personally responsible for the mass  

  • murder of 6 million of Europe's Jews, and after  the war he escaped justice and fled to Argentina.  

  • There, he lived a quiet life with his family under  the fake name of Ricardo Klement. When Eichmann's  

  • son began dating the daughter of a Jewish refugee  who had spent time at Dachau concentration camp,  

  • her father realized Eichmann's true identityHe alerted Israeli officials and Mossad sent  

  • a highly trainedsnatch teamto Argentina to  capture him. Most members of the team had lost  

  • their entire families in the concentration camps  that Eichman had created. On May 11, 1960, Mossad  

  • agents approached Eichmann as he was walking  home from his job at a Mercedes Benz factory,  

  • wrestled him to the ground and into a waiting  car and sped away. They took him to a safe house  

  • where he was interrogated for days before being  drugged and smuggled onto a plane to Israel. The  

  • trial that followed was the first televised trial  in history, and the first time most of the world  

  • heard the true details of the Holocaust. Eichmann  claimed that he was just following orders,  

  • but the evidence showed otherwise - he  was found guilty and hanged in June 1962.

  • Some of Mossad and CIA's biggest successes  have actually happened when the 2 agencies  

  • work together. During Operation Olympic  Games, which started in 2006, CIA agents  

  • and Mossad operatives were rumored to have worked  together to foil Iran's nuclear weapons program.  

  • The operatives created a sophisticated  digital weapon, dubbed the Stuxnet virus,  

  • the first of its kind in the world. Since hackers  couldn't access the plant's systems directly,  

  • they coordinated a complicated operation to infect  the laptops of 5 different companies believed to  

  • be connected to the facility with the destructive  virus. These 'patient zeros' then spread the virus  

  • to the plant's industrial control computers via  USB drives, effectively destroying the plant's  

  • centrifuges and preventing Iran from enriching  uranium, an important first step in creating  

  • nuclear weapons. It took nearly a year for the  Iranians to discover the virus in their systems,  

  • and to this day, neither the U.S. or Israel  have officially taken credit for the attack.

  • When an operation is successful, the public  is unlikely to hear about it for years,  

  • if at all. Failures, on the other handoften make headline news. In recent decades,  

  • the CIA has come under scrutiny for its perceived  failure to prevent the 9/11 attacks on the  

  • World Trade Center. It has faced increased  scrutiny in the wake of the Wikileaks breach,  

  • and Americans' growing concerns about privacyIn 2015, the CIA faced lawsuits and backlash  

  • over its interrogation methods, which  critics believed amounted to torture.

  • Mossad is not immune to criticism, either. They  are frequently accused of hyper-focusing on their  

  • neighbor and sworn enemy Palestine to such an  extent that it causes them to miss important  

  • intel elsewhere in the Middle East and around  the world. They've had their share of scandals,  

  • too. In 1972, Palestinian terrorists launched  a deadly attack at the 1972 Munich Olymics,  

  • killing 6 Israeli athletes and 5 of their  trainers. Mossad agents hunted down many of the  

  • terrorists behind the attack, but in 1973, they  shot and killed a Moroccan-born waiter in Norway,  

  • having mistaken him for one of the terrorists.  5 Mossad officers were tried, but released,  

  • and Mossad compensated the victims' family.

  • Mossad and the CIA are 2 of the most elite  and effective spy agencies in the world,  

  • at times acting as allies, and at others turning  their considerable espionage skills on each other.  

  • Mossad versus CIA - how do they compare? Only  time will tell who comes out on top - though,  

  • come to think of it, maybe we  don't really want to find out

  • If you thought this video was fascinatingbe sure and check out our other videos,  

  • like this one calledWho Were The  Most Successful Spies of All Time?”,  

  • or perhaps you'll like this other video more!

The U.S.'s Central Intelligence agency - the CIA  - and Israel's Mossad are 2 of the world's most  

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Mossad vs CIA - How Do They Compare?

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    Summer posted on 2021/04/22
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